COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Columbia's hotel occupancy rates have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.
Numbers provided by the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau show a 66.9% occupancy rate for August, the highest in more than three years. The hospitality industry will see more visitors coming through the doors this weekend as the University of Missouri celebrates Homecoming.
In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, occupancy rates were just 39.1% compared to 57.7% in March 2019. Last April the rate dipped to 21.1%. The 66.9% rate recorded in August is 27.8 percentage points higher than August 2020.
Marketing and communications manager Megan McConachie said this weekend hotels around Columbia only have a few rooms left... if any.
McConachie said although the hotel industry hasn't completely recovered she's happy with the tremendous progress she's seen compared to the occupancy rates during the pandemic.
The rate for all of 2021 is 54.2% -- a number comparable to the annual rates for 2019 and 2018.
Homecoming events are scheduled throughout the day Saturday. The homecoming parade will take place at 9 a.m. and the football team hosts North Texas. at 3 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
The weekend typically draws thousands of alumni and other visitors who fill up the city's hotel rooms, eat in restaurants and drink in bars.
The restaurants downtown have also increased since this year. Shakespears Pizza General manager said, "Despite 2020, homecoming weekend is one of the busiest weekends every year no matter what. We expect this year to be very very busy and we also expect people to be itching to get out to enjoy the evening".
Check back for more on this developing story and watch ABC 17 News at 5 and 6.